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Transcript of Holocaust
1933 - 1945
What is the Holocaust?
"Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire."
The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that the Jews, deemed "inferior," were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.
The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators.
Hitler was a powerful and spellbinding speaker who attracted a wide following of Germans desperate for change. He promised the disenchanted a better life and a new and glorious Germany.
The Nazi Party
Nazis appealed especially to the unemployed, young people, and members of the lower middle class (small store owners, office employees, craftsmen, and farmers).
In January 1933 Hitler was appointed chancellor, the head of the German government, and many Germans believed that they had found a savior for their nation.
In the early 1930s, the mood in Germany was grim. The worldwide economic depression had hit the country especially hard, and millions of people were out of work. Still fresh in the minds of many was Germany's humiliating defeat fifteen years earlier during World War I, and Germans lacked confidence in their weak government, known as the Weimar Republic. These conditions provided the chance for the rise of a new leader, Adolf Hitler, and his party, the National Socialist German Workers' Party, or Nazi party for short.
Driven by a racist ideology that regarded Jews as “parasitic vermin” worthy only of eradication, the Nazis implemented genocide on an unprecedented scale.
n: the deliberate and systematic
extermination of a national, racial,
political, or cultural group.
They slated all of Europe's Jews for destruction:
the sick and the healthy, the rich and the poor,
the religiously orthodox and converts to Christianity,
the aged and the young, even infants.
About two out of every three Jews living in Europe before the war were killed in the Holocaust. When World War II ended in 1945, six million European Jews were dead; more than one million of the victims were children.
While it classified Jews as the priority “enemy,” the Nazi ideological concept of race targeted other groups for persecution, imprisonment, and annihilation, including Roma (Gypsies), people with disabilities, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, and Afro-Germans.
The Nazis also identified political dissidents,
Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, and so-called
asocials as enemies and security risks either because they consciously opposed the Nazi regime or some aspect of their behavior did not fit Nazi perceptions of social norms.
The Nazis believed that superior races had not j
ust the right but the obligation to subdue and even exterminate inferior ones. They believed that this
struggle of races was consistent with the law of nature. For purposes of propaganda, the Nazis often framed
this strategic vision in terms of a crusade to save
western civilization from these “eastern” or “Asiatic” barbarians and their Jewish leaders and organizers.
the superior race:
Nazi perceptions of social norms
The Nazis established killing centers for
efficient mass murder. Unlike concentration
camps, which served primarily as detention
and labor centers, killing centers (also referred
to as "extermination camps" or "death camps")
were almost exclusively "death factories."
German SS and police murdered nearly
2,700,000 Jews in the killing centers either
by asphyxiation with poison gas or by shooting.
Six camps were set up as death camps:
Auschwitz, Treblinka, Sobibor, Majdenek,
Chelmno and Belzec. All of these death camps
were located in German occupied Poland.
Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany established
about 20,000 camps to imprison its many millions of victims. These camps were used for a range of purposes including forced-labor camps, transit camps which
served as temporary way stations, and extermination camps built primarily or exclusively for mass murder.
Concentration camps served primarily
as detention and labor centers.
Following the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, the Nazis opened forced-labor camps where thousands of prisoners died from exhaustion, starvation, and exposure. SS units guarded the camps.
After the June 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union and
Einsatzgruppe (mobile killing unit) mass shootings of civilians, the Nazis
experimented with gas vans for mass killing. Gas vans were hermetically sealed
trucks with engine exhaust diverted to the interior compartment. Use of gas
vans began after Einsatzgruppe members complained of battle fatigue and mental
anguish caused by shooting large numbers of women and children. Gassing also
proved to be less costly. Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) gassed hundreds of
thousands of people, mostly Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and mentally ill people.
The Nazis often used incinerators, such as
these in Majdanek, to burn the bodies of their
victims. In the end, however, the number of victims
was too great even for this relatively "efficient" method
of corpse disposal. The Allies found hundreds of thousands of cadavers in the camps that they liberated.
Oprah and Elie Wiesel at Auschwitz Part 1
Oprah and Elie Wiesel at Auschwitz Part 2
Oprah and Elie Wiesel at Auschwitz Part 3
Oprah and Elie Wiesel at Auschwitz Part 4
Oprah and Elie Wiesel at Auschwitz Part 5
Oprah and Elie Weisel at Auschwitz Part 6
Approximate number of people
murdered during the Holocaust.
Over one million Jewish children
were killed in the Holocaust.
Approximately two million
Jewish women were murdered.
Around three million
Jewish men murdered.
Recent estimates based on figures obtained
since the fall of the Soviet Union indicates some
10 to 11 million civilians and prisoners of war
were intentionally murdered by the Nazi regime.